Duke basketball rolls to uncontested NCAA Tournament victory

Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team rolled to an easy victory in the NCAA Tournament. 

There was no sweating required in the Duke basketball game over Cal State Fullerton on Friday night in the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils rolled to a 78-61 victory over the Big West Conference Champions in the Round of 64, and the No. 2 seed controlled things from the opening tipoff.

Duke’s defense looked like a new team compared to what it showed last week in the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, New York, as the Blue Devils used a major size advantage to their benefit.

Mark Williams was the biggest beneficiary of the size discrepancy with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five blocks on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.

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Paolo Banchero led the way for Duke with 17 points and 10 rebounds while adding four assists and two blocks to his stat line.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski made an adjustment to his starting lineup as Trevor Keels went to the bench while Jeremy Roach was inserted into the starting five. It paid dividends as each Blue Devil starter reached double figures.

Duke held the Titans to 37.5-percent shooting from the floor and 29.4-percent shooting from 3-point range.

The Blue Devils fired at a 51.7-percent clip from the field and 40.9-percent from downtown.

Duke basketball looking to continue defensive resurgence

Prior to Friday’s game against Cal State Fullerton, both Wendell Moore and Krzyzewski said that the Duke defense looked different and “revamped” after its poor showing in Brooklyn, and this version of the Blue Devils was reminiscent of how they played in the early stages of the season.

Granted, Cal State Fullerton is not known for its lethal offensive attack, but it was a positive sign for Duke nonetheless.

The Blue Devils picked up career victory No. 98 for Coach K in the NCAA Tournament. The Hall of Famer will look to get win No. 99 against either Michigan State or Davidson on Sunday.

A tipoff time has yet to be announced by the NCAA.

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